A routine traffic stop uncovered the scheme of a former employee of a health insurance company who stole the identities of customers.
Quinzella J. Romer, 39, was sentenced to 32 months in prison and ordered to pay $16,264 in restitution. Romer pleaded guilty to one count of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices (Social Security numbers) issued to other people and one count of aggravated identity theft.
The federal prosecutor said Romer’s scam started unraveling after a traffic stop in Coral Springs in 2014. Police noticed Romer had an outstanding warrant for petit theft, and during a pat down, officers found a Florida driver’s license in another person’s name and a cellphone.
After getting a search warrant, officers found 20 screenshots on the phone containing 50 names with Social Security numbers and dates of birth. Romer had taken the shots between 2007 and 2013 during her work as a short-term disability benefit manager at a health insurance company.
An investigation revealed that 12 of the numbers in Romer’s phone were victims of tax-related identity theft in 2013. Tax returns filed on behalf of those names sought refunds of $38,196, with the Internal Revenue Service actually paying out $16,264.
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